September 9, 2008

Ode to the Baby

Today, the last person in my closest group of female friends hits the big 3-0!

Kristin and I have been friends for what seems like forever. Our friendship is the longest, consistent relationship (minus family of course) that I've had in my life and it means the world to me.

We met in Mrs. Geiger's 6th grade Language Arts/Literature class. As our school days went on, we formed a friendship that would serve to be invaluable for the rest of our lives. Although her fashion sense left a little to be desired at times (but what 6th grader in the late 80's really had good fashion sense anyways??), I quickly learned that she is an amazing person and fantastic friend.

High school brought more memories than I'll ever be able to recap. But suffice to say, those memories are peppered with Varsity basketball games (we kept stats for the team), 5 o'clock phone calls, Homecoming dances, the red LeBaron convertible, fashion shows and BOYS. Oh, the boys.

Our schedules were incredibly hectic and the circle of friends we individually "ran" with merged and separated over time but we always stayed close. All 4 years of High School we shared a locker, ensuring that we always stayed up to date with the current happenings of the other. Even if it was by eavesdropping on conversations.

4th of July in 1996, she introduced me to the first real love of my life. I was in a mess of stupid relationships (2 different guys at the same time, neither of which were worth the breath it took for me to say their names) and she called me to go to the fireworks with her, her boyfriend and one of her boyfriend's best friends. I hesitated to go, but desperately needed to get away from the drama in my love life. Little did I know that night would be the beginning of a relationship that would consume the next 27 months and help to define the rest of my life. The relationship that would begin to show me who I really was, what I really wanted in life, and that only I could go after the things I wanted.

When he and I broke up in '98, Kristin was still involved with his best friend. For the 1st time in over 10 years, our friendship fractured. It was too hard to stay in contact when her significant other thought I was the spawn of Satan.

A year later we picked back up. A semester in Nepal had brought me to C, and she had become involved with someone new as well. Within a few conversations we were back to where we had been years before, as though things had never changed.

3 years ago, we found ourselves in a place that changed both of our lives tremendously. I was battling with 2 miscarriages and she was pregnant, struggling to be considerate to my thoughts/feelings and yet make sure that I felt included in her excitement. That Fall rolled around and her extremely uneventful and easy pregnant took a turn and she found herself in and out of the hospital with complications. Baby Girl V wasn't due until February but kept threatening (pre-term labor) to make an early appearance. I jokingly said one day that I had a due date in December '06 that I wasn't going to use, that she could have it if she wanted. It was agreed upon that V needed to wait until much past that date to make her appearance.

Hours before my alarm was to go off on December 9th (the due date we had joked about), my phone rang with the news that turned a dreaded date into a joyous one. Victoria had made her appearance almost 12 weeks early and faced a challenging journey in the NICU unit after her birth.

Shortly after the Christmas holiday, I received a phone call that reduced me to a heap of tears in the parking lot of Wal-Mart in Pt. Huron, Michigan and talked of a cruel twist of fate that saved Kristin's life. Although my writing will never do it justice, it was discovered that much of Kristin's abdomen was full of infection and required a full hysterectomy (and more) to save her life. As Victoria was valiantly fighting in the NICU, Kristin and Rod were given the news that she would never have any biological siblings.

For many weeks after that phone call I cried. I cried for what Kris had been through; I cried for the journey they still faced with V's NICU stay; I cried for the incredible love shown by Rod; I cried for what they would never experience again. And I cried, time and time again for the simple reason that I still had my friend. That I have the chance to make more memories as our lives go on.

Happy Birthday, my wonderful friend. May today and the days forthcoming be filled with love, laughter and happiness. I'm so glad you've been given the opportunity to see today.

Technical difficulties are stopping me from posting more embarrassing pictures. They'll come within the next few days, I promise.


Rod Schanck - Secretary 103 said...

Okay. You got me. Hard to remember some of those times without a tear of sorrow and joy. I have not really gotten to know you, since you are so far away, but I feel as if I do. Kristin has always talked so highly of you....never a bad word. I believe the first time I really met you was in the hospital when Kristin was recovering. I do know this....every time you call, my wife smiles. You are a great friend for Kristin. After reading this, I am extending this promise, our next vacation (after Vegas) is to visit you. If you guys will have us that is. Thanks for being there for Kristin. Thanks for posting such nice comments. BTW, how is the job market for cops out there?? Thanks again! Rod